The painter Hans Gjesme (1904-1994) was born and grew up in Lærdal. As a 16-year-old he became an apprentice to Pola Gaugin in Kristiania. Later he spent som months in Paris as a student of André Lhote. Gjesme worked in a naturalistic style, taking the landscapes and people of Lærdal as the main subject. He lived in Lærdal for most of his life, and donated over 1,500 works to Lærdal muncipality.